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Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com

how do you drill string through holes

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by hopdybob, Jan 7, 2009.

  1. hopdybob

    hopdybob Tele-Meister

    380
    May 28, 2008
    netherlands
    i am wondering what different ways there are to make these string through holes getting them in line at the back without a computer routing system, just by hand.
    so whats your way to get it the way you want?
     

  2. dean

    dean Friend of Leo's

    Here's what I have done:

    Assuming that the saddles of the string-through bridge are the requisite 25 1/2 inches from the nut (for proper intonation), I install the bridge on the guitar. Then, using a drill press (it's difficult to do this accurately without a drill press - unless you really trust your abilities with a hand drill), I carefully drill through the body on the two outside holes (the two E-string holes). Then, I drill about half-way through the body on the middle four holes. I then remove the bridge, flip the body over, lay the bridge on the back of the body and line up the two outer holes that I drilled with the outer holes on the bridge (use a couple small dowels or appropriate size nails to secure the bridge by the two outer holes - don't let the bridge slip around). The bridge thus becomes a template for drilling the middle four holes from the backside of the body. If you have drilled everything perfectly straight, the drill through from the back on the middle four holes should meet where you have already drilled halfway through on the front side. Does that make sense? Then carefully countersink your holes on the back for the string ferrules. The holes should be neatly aligned.

    Good luck!

    Dean
     
    Greenmachine likes this.

  3. jkingma

    jkingma Super Moderator Staff Member

    Admin Post
    Thats exactly how I do it.

    I should add that when drilling, just drill in about 1/4" at a time then back out and clean the debris from the drill. This will help prevent the bit from wandering.
     
    Greenmachine likes this.

  4. Jack Wells

    Jack Wells Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Oct 19, 2003
    Albuquerque, USA

  5. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Telefied Ad Free Member

    I drill straight through the body with a thin bit, such as a .086 twist bit.

    I enlarge the rout with a 3/16ths bit halfway through, from the back, and then enlarge from there with an Irwin # 11214 Reamer. It'll enlarge the smaller holes to large enough ones, to install the ferrule with the flange proud, like an Am Std Tele. The poly will chip with twist bits and even forstner bits, so flush mounting with existing poly finishes, and fully dried lacquer finishes, IMO will not usually work. The reamer permits you to adjust the holes back into alignment.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2009

  6. jrfrond

    jrfrond Tele-Holic

    955
    Aug 11, 2008
    Long Island, NY
    The absolute BEST way to drill these holes perfectly is on a drill press with a machinist's table. The table has handwheels for X-Y axis movement and the body gets clamped onto the table. This setup is also great for precision routing.
     

  7. Rob DiStefano

    Rob DiStefano Poster Extraordinaire Vendor Member

    Age:
    71
    Mar 3, 2003
    NJ via TX
    All bets are off if you don't use a drill press with enuf swing to accommodate the body width.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     

  8. Jack Wells

    Jack Wells Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Oct 19, 2003
    Albuquerque, USA
    That has not been the case in my limited experience. The Forstner bit has these two sharp edges that slice through the cured finish without chipping before the two horizontal cutters contact the finish.

    ......[​IMG]

    These 3/8 in. holes for flush mount ferrules were drilled with a Forstner bit with no tape and no chipping. The red in the holes is from a felt tip pen.

    ......[​IMG]

    A 12 in. drill press will do the job.

    Got to disagree with that statement. I don't see how that method could be more accurate that the method I linked to above.....and besides, how many of us have a machinists table on our drill press? Here's what they look like when done with my method.

    ...... [​IMG]
     
    boris bubbanov and callasabra like this.

  9. castpolymer

    castpolymer Poster Extraordinaire

    May 27, 2008
    Edmond, Oklahoma
    Drill press is the only sure fire way to go. I tried one by hand, it was not pretty. It is now a top loader.
     

  10. hopdybob

    hopdybob Tele-Meister

    380
    May 28, 2008
    netherlands
    very useful tips until now, maybe more?
     

  11. scubadoo

    scubadoo Tele-Afflicted

    Apr 1, 2008
    Bristol, UK
    i think you've already got the best method above. It's worked well on the three I've done.
     

  12. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Telefied Ad Free Member


    I did my best to answer the question, as asked. Hand tools.

    Clearly these other high tech approaches work better, if you have access to them. Great tools usually mean great results.

    This plate was milled on a lathe. First a center point, then a .086 high speed steel twist bit.

    [​IMG]

    The "Bubba Mod" holes for the 6-32 intonation screws were likewise enlarged on the mill to 9/64ths. Luckily they were very close to start. Bits don't like re-centering misdrilled holes I am told.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2009
    Greenmachine likes this.

  13. twangcaster1

    twangcaster1 Friend of Leo's

    Feb 28, 2008
    Nashville, TN
    That looks VERY good! Nice work.
     

  14. twangcaster1

    twangcaster1 Friend of Leo's

    Feb 28, 2008
    Nashville, TN
    A drill press truly is the ONE way you should consider doing that, but you don't have to have a machinist's table.
     

  15. pickinpete

    pickinpete Tele-Meister

    Age:
    51
    245
    Apr 16, 2006
    Lawrenceburg, TN
    Wasnt it buckocaster who has a piece of stock steel he had machined at a machine shop for a jig? Or was it someone else......
     

  16. jrfrond

    jrfrond Tele-Holic

    955
    Aug 11, 2008
    Long Island, NY
    I didn't say you HAD to have a machinist's table, but that would be the most accurate method with the least amount of chance, even though Rob's method, in his case, yields stellar results.

    Hell, have you ever seen vintage Tele ferrules before they switched to a multi-spindle drill head? Some were WAY off! :eek:
     

  17. bobbyswamp

    bobbyswamp TDPRI Member

    27
    Oct 22, 2006
    Los Angeles, CA
    Now THAT is funny. Sounds like how most of my project attempts end...
     

  18. Jack Wells

    Jack Wells Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Oct 19, 2003
    Albuquerque, USA
    I think that was the great Terry Downs.
     
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  19. Colt W. Knight

    Colt W. Knight Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Jan 21, 2007
    Tucson, AZ
    My dad is making me some steel blocks to drill string through holes and another for neck screws at the machine shop at his company. Thanks to Terry Downs for the blueprint.
     

  20. Rob DiStefano

    Rob DiStefano Poster Extraordinaire Vendor Member

    Age:
    71
    Mar 3, 2003
    NJ via TX
    Many years (decades!) ago, since I had a short swing drill press that required turning the body around 180 degrees to get at all 6 string holes, I created a string-through jig out of a 2" x 2" x 6" block of aluminum - drilled the six 3/32" holes with a drill press and used a 6" bit in a hand drill to drill the body holes. Worked pretty darned good. But today, using my 34" swing Griz is just too easy. :D
     

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